Title: 5 Ways Jax Left Charming for Tara
Warning: Some swearing, a few kisses, a little violence
Spoilers: Mostly all AU or Alternate History
Disclaimer: I don't own anything
5 Ways Jax Left Charming for Tara
1. Tara pauses at the threshold to her bedroom and just looks at him. Jax is still sitting where she left him five minutes ago on the edge of her bed with his head in his hands.
"I... I think it's… positive." She was pretty sure those words were going to get stuck in her throat, but they manage to make it past her lips.
"You think?" Jax asks as he slowly lifts his head up. He doesn't meet her eyes, but at least now he's looking in her direction.
"No… it is," and she doesn't really know what to say after that.
The directions might as well have been for building a rocket ship, as much sense as they made to her. In the end, all she really had to do was look at it and she knew what those two pink lines meant
She doesn't know what to do with herself at this moment. If she should go and sit next to him, or if maybe he doesn't really want her near him right now. Finally, his eyes meet hers and she's relieved to see that he looks just as lost as she feels.
She crosses the room and sits next to him on the bed. Not close enough to touch, but she needs something from him right now… even if she doesn't know that is.
"Your dad is going to kill me."
That certainly wasn't it.
"My dad!? Really Jax, how about your mom?" Lately, Gemma has been giving Tara these looks that remind her of a momma bear protecting her cub. It only took a week for Tara to realize that it was more about Gemma protecting Gemma, than Gemma protecting Jax.
He doesn't have anything to say to that.
Her fingers start to trace the flower pattern on the bedspread until his hand covers hers. It's not really a grasp and he definitely isn't holding her hand, but it's contact. Contact… that's what Tara needed.
They sit in silence. She can barely make sense of the jumble of thoughts running through her head. She can't even begin to imagine what's running through his.
"I could come with you."
She never would have guessed that.
She knows what he means, but she still can't wrap her mind around the fact that he said it. Tara hasn't even decided yet if she's going to school in the Midwest this fall.
"Jax, you can't leave. You told me you can't leave! I don't even know..."
"I'm not letting you go halfway across the country alone with my… my kid. Maybe it can work, maybe it can't. I don't know." He sounds like he means it, and Tara wants to believe him so badly.
There are so many reasons why all this could end badly, but when his hands come up to her face and his thumbs start to brush away the tears she didn't realize were falling, one thing at least becomes clear. She wants him….. needs him, whatever. Wherever, however, she ends up, he has to be there.
2. The front door opens and shuts softly. She left it unlocked for him after her dad went to bed. This is one routine that she and Jax have had down for most of their relationship. For a long time there weren't many nights where Tara went to bed alone. Her father is a man of routine and Jax always manages to make it out of her house before the standard 6:00 am wake up.
Things started to change when Jax turned 18 a few months ago. Since then he's been getting more and more involved in the Club and Tara finds herself going to bed alone more often than she would like.
He makes his way over and stretches out next to her on the bed. He leans in for a kiss before settling beside her, wrapping her up in his arms. She has to brush his hair away from her face and he drops another kiss on the top of her head.
"So, how was it?" He sounds so nonchalant as he asks, and it incites an anger that Tara didn't realize she was feeling.
"You know, you could've been there," is all she can answer him with.
She isn't really sure why she's angry with him for skipping the graduation ceremony, but dammit she is. She's seen the piece of paper with his name on it that was mailed to his house, so she knows he graduated… somehow. She just can't figure out how he did it since he seemed to skip out on senior year entirely.
"Not really my thing," he says as kisses her ear. He's slowly moving his way down her neck now, but that warm rush she usually gets from the anticipation and the feel of his lips on her skin doesn't come.
The anger transforms into the same old frustration that has become so familiar to her lately. If it doesn't have anything to do with SAMCRO, it's hard for Jax to be bothered. She doesn't let herself wonder where she rates on that scale…. most of the time.
Normally, she would just let it go for now in favor of continuing in the direction that Jax is definitely heading. There's something about today though, that won't let her. Maybe it was the ceremony and the symbolism surrounding it.
"It's over Jax! High school is over and we are supposed to be moving on. Looking forward to the future… planning a future!…. and you... you just…"
"Just what? What do you want me to say!? I'm sorry I skipped it Tara, really, I am." He lets his head flop back to the pillow and his hand that was previously drawing lazy circles on her stomach has stilled.
She's pretty sure that he's just sorry she's angry right now.
"Whatever." She sits up, hugging her knees to her chest. She really is upset with him, but she can't stop herself from leaning against his chest when he pulls himself up behind her and cradles her close.
"Baby, please." His tone is almost pleading and it's the closest to apologetic that Tara is probably going to get tonight.
"Don't you think about the future at all?" She asks him and she hates that her voice sounds so small. She thinks about his future all the time. About the college she wants to go to and how everything is probably going to fall apart once she leaves Charming and he stays here.
"What if I said you're my future," he says simply and quietly in her ear.
She thinks her heart might have stopped in that moment, and it definitely stole her breath. She's turning around to face him and before she think of the consequences, she looks him directly in the eye and asks, "What if I asked you to come with me?"
"I guess I'd have to say yes."
3. Sitting in the hospital waiting room, it dawns on Tara that she was always headed here. She's seen the widows and scars on the men working in the garage with their shirts off, but she never connected those images to her and Jax.
Gemma keeps pacing and Opie's knee won't stop moving up and down and Tara just wants everyone to be still. Maybe if it all just stops, the thoughts spinning in her head will stop too.
Her father answered the knock at the door at 1:00 am and the look on Opie's face must have silenced any objections that he had to the late night visit. She doesn't know all the details. She thinks that Opie probably gave them, but she didn't get past the word stabbed.
Stabbed. Yeah, Tara would really like that image to stop spinning through her head.
Finally, a doctor approaches Gemma, but Tara stays seated. Sitting here in this plastic chair watching doctors and nurses rush back and forth has brought along the realization that maybe everything won't be okay. If it's bad…. if he's gone, she'd just like to not know for a little longer. In this moment it's still Jax and Tara. She isn't ready to be just Tara.
"He's going to be fine," Opie tells her as he drops himself back down in the adjoining chair. There are still so many thoughts spinning, but a few have been stopped.
She's pretty sure there is more too it, but she just leans her head against Opie's strong shoulder and closes her eyes. Jax is going to be fine… this time.
Opie shakes her awake some time later and she follows him down a hall to the elevator. Visiting hours aren't for a few more hours, but she needs to see him and she thinks that maybe Opie does too. He was there when it happened and it suddenly occurs to her what those dark stains against his black t-shirt must be. She feels the bile rise up in her throat, but takes several deep breaths to calm it back down. He's fine, he's fine, he's fine, she tells herself over and over.
He pauses outside a doorway and all she can do is nod for him to go first. Tara just needs a minute.
When he comes out, she almost has to force one foot in front of the other. Jax has never looked so pale. His eyes are closed and suddenly she thinks that everyone must be wrong, because he certainly doesn't look fine to her.
She has to force herself to reach for his hand because she's too afraid to touch him. It takes her two tries before she is able to grasp his hand in hers and relief courses through her that it's warm.
Her head feels so heavy and she lets it fall to the bed next to their clasped hands. The tears that wouldn't fall earlier begin their descent. She tries to be quiet about it, but she can't stop her shoulders from shaking and a few audible sobs escape her.
When she's finally able to look at his face again his eyes are open.
"I…. I… Jax I don't…." and she can't form a sentence. Maybe it's because she really doesn't know what to say.
"Baby, I'm so sorry." His voice is barely above a whisper and a few more tears fall.
"I can't do this again Jax. Never again," her voice is quiet, but she's proud that it's steady.
She doesn't really think he understands. This isn't fair to do to him right now. His eyes are unfocused and he's been through enough tonight. He doesn't need any guilt or grief right now, but now that she has found the words she just can't make them stop.
"I mean it Jax. It's going to happen again, and again, until one day…. one day, you'll just be… be gone," and she pauses here because she needs a second after getting that out and she really wants him to hear it. She doesn't think he ever really considered it.
"I can't wait around for that day Jax. I just can't. I can't stay here in Charming and watch SAMCRO get you killed. I won't." Her voice isn't steady anymore. She takes a deep breath and she can't look him in the eyes.
"Then I guess I'll have to come with you."
Her eyes flick back to his blue ones and their crystal clear.
4. This is crazy she tells herself, even as she continues to hold the phone to her ear and listen to it ring. After nine long years, she still knows the number to the garage by heart and she can only hope that someone there will answer the phone and tell her how she can reach him.
Him… Jax… this is what it has all come down to.
"Hello." The sound of his voice on the other end shocks her so badly that she almost hangs up. She never expected it to be him that answered and now she doesn't know what to say.
"Hello," he repeats. She has to say something now, because she is never going to work up the courage to call again.
"Jax… it's me, Tara." She really should have thought this through a little better, because that was hard enough and she has no idea how she is going to get the rest out.
"Tara? What… Tara?" She hears confusion, but she doesn't detect any anger.
"I'm sorry, I know this is coming out of nowhere, and it's been so long, but please… Jax, I need… I just need to talk to you. If you can, or if you have some time…. or you can always say no of course." She knows that she's rambling, but she can't stop herself.
It's been nine years since she has seen him or spoken to him. He could be married and have a handful of kids by now, but just the sound of his voice takes her right back to when she was eighteen and he was all hers.
"No, this is... this is okay. I can talk… actually, can I call you back? I'd rather... well the office is kind of full and..."
"Yeah, of course," she interrupts and gives him the number.
The phone rings ten minutes later. Tara hasn't moved an inch away from her spot. She snatches up the phone quickly and without the usual trepidation that she is so accustomed to these days.
"Yeah. Tara… where are you?"
"Chicago. I'm calling because… God, I wish I knew how to say… I don't know if it's right to call you, but I don't know what to do anymore."
"Tara, if you're ever in trouble you can always call me. It doesn't matter what happened in the past. I'll always….. I'll do whatever I can to help you."
That must have been the sign that she needed, because suddenly it all comes tumbling out. The phone calls, e-mails, random knocks on her door at all hours of the night, visits to her work… everything just spills out and she's sobbing by the end of her story.
"No one can help me, or at least no one will. He's an ATF agent and the police either think I'm making it up or they look at me with pity. They tell me their sorry and that I should just leave it alone, but HE won't leave me alone. Jax… I'm scared. I'm so scared." She's curled up into a ball on the end of her couch, clutching the phone to her ear and while she still feels completely alone and helpless, this is the closest to safe that she has felt in months.
There's a long pause and then, "Tara, where are you exactly?" His voice is steady and he sounds determined. Her breath is coming in hitches, but at least the tears have stopped. She explains to him where she lives and he tells her it will be a few days, but he will be there.
They end with simple good-byes, but of course, nothing about this is simple. Tara can't come up with another reason right now, but she won't admit to herself that this is why she called.
The weight is still on her shoulders. At least now though, she can see that there is an end. Good or bad, this is all going to be over soon.
5. Tara is on her way back up to the bar when she feels a hand slap her ass. She looks back in disgust and sees a table full of men that she doesn't recognize. Not that she thought she would. Dating Jax Teller in Charming has its perks, and there aren't many that would lay a hand on her.
She makes it up to the bar and asks for another Bud. Another perk. They're all underage, but thanks to the leather on Jax and Opie's backs the bartender is more than happy to serve them. It's just another lazy summer Tuesday night. Jax and Opie are shooting pool while she's attempting to make conversation with Opie's latest girlfriend.
Awhile ago, she asked Opie why he continues to date all these, in her opinion, unworthy girls. He just smirked at her and Jax and said that they can't all find the one at fifteen. Jax laughed and said that he must be lucky. Tara's pretty sure that she's the lucky one.
She gets her beer and is back on her way to her table when her journey is cut short and she is pulled down onto a lap and there is definitely a hand making its way up her side. The shock of it is enough to make her drop her bottle and it shatters on impact. This gets Jax's attention.
The breath against her ear is hot and the hand making its way under her shirt is sweaty. Tara tries to squirm away, but the man has too good a hold of her.
"Get your fuckin' hands off her!" Jax, Jax, Jax.
"This pretty 'lil thing belong to you? Maybe you should keep a better eye on it," he sneers at Jax. The hand under her shirt slides up and after a painful squeeze he shoves her off his lap and she would've hit the ground, but Jax is quicker and pulls her up into his chest.
She allows herself a moment to bury her face into the soft cotton of his t-shirt and breathe him in. His arms are secure around her and she can feel the warmth from him settle deep in her bones to dull the chill that the terror left behind. His hands on the small of her back, over the ink that marks her as his, are holding her steady.
She wants to just walk away and go home, but she knows Jax isn't going to be able to let this go. It's bad enough the man touched her, but Jax isn't going to walk away from the disrespect. These men definitely aren't from around here.
He passes her gently to Opie before reaching down and hauling the man out of his seat. "You. Outside." Jax doesn't shout, but Tara can sense the rage simmering just below the surface.
She follows them out the door, but hangs back with Opie's girlfriend, Lucy… that's her name.
The man's companions have also followed, but she breathes a sigh of relief when it looks like they are going to hang back and let the jackass fight his own battle. It might have something to do with them being too drunk to stand up straight.
Jax is capable. Tara knows this. She's also aware of the knife at his hip, but she's never seen him use it. He won't this time. Jax is angry, but he's honorable. He might have thoughts of running it through the creep, but he would never let the fury take over.
From where she stands she can see Jax get in some good hits and she thinks she only seen him take one or two clumsy ones. The man goes down and she's grateful that this is going to be over quickly. She just wants to go home, take a long shower, and crawl into bed with him.
He's walking back towards her now shaking out his fist. He looks mostly okay, but it's hard to tell for sure because the streetlight is out. The man is in the background, slowly staggering to his feet. Tara knows that he deserved what he got, and no, she doesn't think that makes her a bad person.
Jax is almost to her now and she's about to turn and walk away with him when something glinting in the moonlight catches her eye…
She's snapped back to the present by the person beside her standing. She thinks that she should probably be paying attention, but everything is a little hazy right now. The sun is beating down and there is no breeze making the air hot and stale. It feels like it's suffocating her.
She stands and takes the few steps forward and as she stops she looks down at the white rose. Her hand is steady as she reaches forward and places it on the dark mahogany.
Tara has dreamt about leaving Charming one day in the future, but she's always had a problem figuring out how to convince Jax to go with her.
She never imagined that he would leave first.
AN: These are obviously all AU, but I think that the fourth one does fit into the timeline when Jax first separated from Wendy before they got back together and conceived Abel.
I was considering writing the fifth one as Jax being sent to prison after accidentally killing the man, but I wanted my sappy, cliché ending. Thank you for reading.